While perusing Facebook, I recently saw a young writer I know asking folks which tense and POV they preferred in the stories they read. I responded by asking her if she was just taking a poll out of curiosity or if she was planning on trying to write in the style that people seemed to prefer. She said it was just curiosity, but something nagged at me and I felt I had to have a little talk with her.
I wanted to be sure she understood that it was fine to write something in the style readers seem to be enjoying at the moment, but not to force it. That if it seemed like she was pushing and pulling the plot and it still wasn’t flowing the way she wanted or she was lacking that connection with her characters, it was okay to change it up.
It’s been discussed here before, but to reiterate, Heavyweight started out being written in third person past tense. I had this idea I loved, characters I fleshed out and the plot roughly outline, yet it was like pulling teeth to get the words out on paper. I was a good 10k words in when I decided to rewrite it all. I changed the style to first person present tense and I couldn’t believe how natural it seemed, how easily the words flowed and the story unfolded. I knew first person wasn’t a favorite of many readers, but that didn’t matter. It was how the story needed to be written and that was obvious when I made the change.
Just because you start out with one intention that doesn’t mean you have to force it if it doesn’t feel right. Be open to change and willing to try different POVs, tense or where you start the beginning of the story. You are the creator and your readers are going to be able to tell if you forced it and your heart wasn’t in it.
Have you ever made a major change to your writing style? How did it work for you?